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CCATP #548 – Lupita Salazar on Braille Literacy and Tech

Lupita Salazar talks to us about how she learned to read at 6 years old (just like everyone else) through Braille. She was highly influenced by my awesome friend Lore Schindler, who taught Tech and Braille to her and the other students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He explains why Braille is so important to literacy when many believe audio is a substitute for being able to read. Lupita is a hard core tech head who just loves to experiment and learn new tech (she even used Android for a year just to understand it!) She’s funny and passionate and has a great perspective that I really enjoyed. You can find Lupita @queeenofthesea31 or email her at looptheloop31@gmail.com.

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NC #675 AssisTech SmartCane, LED Shoe Lights, Smartbox, Security Bits

In this week’s show I announce the new “Special Pages” button on podfeet.com (I know, exciting to have a new button, isn’t it?) We used mimoLive from Boinx Software for the first time making the live show, but I only tease you at the beginning that I’ll explain what that is. I promise, I’ll tell you all about it next week! We’ve got two last interviews from CSUN: the AssisTech SmartCane and Smartbox for those with speaking challenges. I’ll tell you how I have even MORE blinky lights on me when I go for a walk thanks to Bart, and then we’ll have Security Bits where Bart gives us an update on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook kerfuffle, WebAuthn, and more security news and information.

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CSUN Assistive Tech Conference 2018: Smartbox

Allison interviews Dr. Chris Gibbons from Smartbox about their Grid 3 software and Grid Pad hardware to help people who can’t speak to communicate. Grid 3 is a complete Augmentative and Alternative Communication software package designed to help users communicate and connect with their world using symbols, text or a combination of both. With a simple and intuitive layout, Grid 3 allows users to edit a cell or create whole new grid sets with only a few taps. Changes on the go are made easy using the touch-friendly interface. Grid Pad hardware devices come in three flavors. Grid Pad Go is a small, thin and lightweight solution for people using touch or switch access on a portable device. Grid Pad Pro is a powerful device packed full of features including high-quality audio, multiple access options, and Smartbox’s Servus environment control. Grid Pad Eye includes all the features of the Pro model but with integrated eye gaze access. Grid Pad Eye is available with a wide range of cameras to suit individual needs. The setting is CSUN Assistive Technologies Conference in San Diego, CA. Learn more at https://thinksmartbox.com/

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CSUN Assistive Tech Conference 2018: AssisTech SmartCane

Allison interviews Manshul Belani from AssisTech Labs about their new SmartCane device for those who are blind or visually impaired. SmartCane is an electronic travel aid which fits on the top fold of the white cane. It serves as an enhancement to the white cane and overcomes its limitations by detecting knee-above and hanging obstacles such as the railings, tree branches, inclined ladders, etc. These obstacles do not have significant footprint on the ground and thus can result in injury to the head or upper body parts. For safe mobility, it is important that they are detected early. The cane has other uses as a spatial awareness device as it can detect presence or absence of objects in the surroundings. The setting is CSUN Assistive Technologies Conference in San Diego, CA. Learn more at http://smartcane.saksham.org.

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NC #674 Reggie Ashworth, Clarify, Second Sight, Dumb Question on Accessibility, Seeing AI

In this week’s episode, I open with the sad news that Reggie Ashworth, author of the great apps AppDelete and VidConvert has passed away. We have a minor bit of news about Clarify that is slightly hopeful that it will survive into the next version of Mac App Store (but don’t get your heart set on it). Then we finally start having some fun as we play interviews from CSUN’s Assistive Technology Conference: Second Sight and Orcam MyEye 2.0. I answer a dumb question about why I care so much about accessibility. Then I’ll give you a multi-media tour of a free app from Microsoft called Seeing AI.

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Seeing AI from Microsoft

Seeing AI scene laptopI’m going to talk about an accessibility app called Seeing AI developed by Microsoft and while you might not need this yourself, it’s a fascinating, free tool for iOS that has huge capabilities. I’m going to walk through how I heard about it and the problem it originally solved and then I’m going to do some crazy multi-media. I took a series of short videos using iOS’s built-in recording function of each of the tools within Seeing AI. The videos will be embedded in the blog post as I go along and I’ll play the audio from them for the podcast, setting up what’s going on in each segment.

I was alerted to Seeing AI by Kevin Jones (@kevinrj) after I did the review of the NiteIze Taglit, the little LED lights I clamp on my shirt for walking Tesla in the evening to keep from being plowed down by an unobservant motorist.  Kevin is blind and wanted to know if there was any physical indicator to tell him whether the light was on, off, or blinking.

Since there wasn’t a physical indicator on the Taglits, he asked if I’d test a free app called Seeing AI from Microsoft. This app does a ton of cool stuff and I’ll walk you through all of it, but let’s start with the problem Kevin wanted to solve.

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Dumb Question Corner – Why Do I Care About Accessibility?

braille symbolHarald sent in a lovely note and included a Dumb Question for the show. Here’s his note:

Dear Allison,

Several months ago I started listening to the NosillaCast after discovering, and listening to all episodes of Taming The Terminal. I haven’t skipped a single week ever since. Many thanks for putting a big smile on my face every week when I listen to your podcast. It is such a pleasure to listen to you and Bart. My wife also started listening. She is a happy MAC user while I am enjoying Windows. We both love using our iPhone.

My Dumb Question is why are you so interested in accessibility?

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CSUN Assistive Tech Conference 2018: OrCam MyEye 2.0

Allison interviews Bryan Wolynski from OrCam about their new MyEye 2.0 artificial vision device for those who are blind or visually impaired. MyEye 2.0 is comprised of a 13 Mpixel camera that takes a photograph and speaks back to the wearer a description of the image contents, whether it be text, facial recognition or product recognition. The device also recognizes simple hand gestures, reads colors, identifies money notes, and tells the date and time with a turn of the wrist. The MyEye 2.0 device, about the size of a finger, magnetically attaches to the stem of your glasses. In addition to the camera, the device includes a processor and speaker which transmits the audio to the wearer’s ear. MyEye 2.0 is ideal for use at work or at school, at home or on the go. The setting is CSUN Assistive Technologies Conference in San Diego, CA. Learn more at https://orcam.com/en/myeye2/

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CSUN Assistive Tech Conference 2018: Second Sight

Allison interviews Duane Tsutsui from Second Sight about their implants that help some blind people “see”. The first device, called Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, provides electrical stimulation to a retinal implant to induce visual perception to blind individuals with severe to profound Retinitis Pigmentosa. The Argus II System is comprised of a miniature video camera housed in the patient’s glasses that captures a scene. The video is sent to a small patient-worn video processing unit where it is processed and transformed into instructions that are sent back to the glasses via a cable. These instructions are transmitted wirelessly to an antenna in the retinal implant. The signals are then sent to the electrode array, which emits small pulses of electricity to the retina. Patients learn to interpret these visual patterns with their retinal implant. Argus II is being used by over 300 patients and is receiving Medicare approval across several states across the U.S.

The second system called Orion Cortical Prosthesis is intended for individuals who do not have functioning eyes or optic nerves but who have had functional vision at some time earlier in life. The Orion System is similar to Argus II except that it bypasses the eye and optic nerve altogether. Instead, it sends electrical pulses to an array implanted directly on the surface of the visual cortex of the brain. Patients learn to interpret these visual patterns with their cortical implant. The Orion System has begun clinical trials with the first cortical implant performed in January 2018.

The setting is CSUN Assistive Technologies Conference in San Diego, CA. Learn more at http://secondsight.com/

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NC #631 Blind Podcast Subscriptions, What You Can’t Do Without Data, IT is Waste, Security Bits

Update on Ring and they’re problematic app and website, Daniel Semro demonstrates how a blind person subscribes to a podcast. It’s surprising what things you can’t do without data (as I learned in the national parks last week). In response to Tim Jahr’s question, I’ll explain why I said during Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bruce Wilson that IT is waste. Claus Wolf asks for a change to the Amazon Affiliate Links and I grant that wish. Bart Busschots is back with another fabulous Security Bits segment.


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